For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
The enemies with whom we are familiar in these times, the enemies with whose rock we come into contact, are not worshippers of idols nor votaries of any of the grosser forms of superstition. On these they admit Christianity to be a great advance. They would scorn the notion of resorting to superstition and idolatry as the true solution of man's spiritual need. In comparison with these they admit the Christian faith to be both purer and loftier, still it is not their rock. They claim to have advanced beyond Christianity. Now I propose, in the spirit of these words of Moses, to compare the Christian faith with the principles of those who differ from it, and to show how its superiority must be and is acknowledged even by its enemies.
I. THE FORMATION OF CHARACTER. It is commonly allowed that the Christian faith produces the very highest type of character. There has never appeared upon earth a being whose character could be placed alongside that of Jesus Christ. No doubt it is possible to find outside of the ranks of Christians not a few who are not only inoffensive in their manner of life, and have characters unstained by any decided vice, but also men of conspicuous honour and adorned with virtue in a degree which puts many a professed Christian to shame. But in reference to such it is to be noticed, first, that the qualities by which such men are distinguished are precisely those which Christianity teaches men to value and to practise, and that it is just in the degree in which they have developed the virtues of Christianity that they are held in honour; and secondly, it is to be remembered that it is hard to say how far these virtues, when manifested within the pale of Christendom, are not attributable to Christian influences.
II. THE INWARD SATISFACTION AND PEACE WHICH THEY YIELD TO THE SOUL. There is a craving in the human heart which seeks something it cannot itself provide, a thirst which does not find in the heart which feels it any well at which it may be quenched. There are outside of the Christian faith endless methods of ministering to that thirst — the delights of love, the fellowship of kindred minds, the pursuit of knowledge, the gratifying of the desires of the mind and heart, the excitement of pleasure, and many others besides, but is there any one of them all which meets this inward craving of the human heart so directly or so completely as it is met in the gift of a new and everlasting life in God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Dig what wells you will in this wilderness world; hew out what cisterns you choose to gather up in them your little stores of earth-drawn pleasure — do they yield you anything to be compared to the streams of living water flowing from the smitten rock? Have they ever furnished you a heart satisfaction to be compared as to quality and permanency with the heart satisfaction felt by the Christian in realising the love of God towards him, and his own entrance into the Divine life in Christ? Again, there are dark and difficult problems which present themselves to the soul when pondering its present position and future destiny; and although there are some who preach that it is the highest duty of man to go forward in his appointed path with only an awful sense of the darkness surrounding him, and the mystery before him, is it not a better position far to feel that the most important questions have been answered, that the proper goal of man has been revealed, and that the path which leads to it has been made clear?
III. THE SUPPORT AFFORDED IN THE EMERGENCIES OF LIFE.
1. In seasons of danger, in the hour when shipwreck seems inevitable, or sudden illness seizes on the trembling body, or pestilence is perilously near, who manifests the greatest sense of safety?
2. Or again, in times of deep distress, when earthly disappointment has impoverished you, or affliction has weakened and wasted you, or bereavement has left you mourning and lonely, do you know of any stay which you would then so much desire, as that possessed by the Christian?
3. Lastly, who, think you, is so well prepared to die as he who has committed his soul to the care and keeping of Christ? Is he as likely to be troubled with dying regrets as you who have not done so? Do you think that he will lament in that hour the time spent in prayer and in study of God's Word, his days of humiliation and repentance, his strivings, self-denials, and sacrifices for Christ, and the labour put forth to win conformity to the mind of Christ?
(G. Robson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.